Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Part two

So I was mulling around about my last post as I tried to sleep last night (Philip had taken the five older kids on a camp out, so it was just me and Leah around here.  And I never sleep well when Philip is gone).  And I realized that the dancing lady at church doesn't have a testimony any more dramatic than my own.

Maybe in the world's eyes her deliverance seems more profound, but in truth, we are all miraculously ransomed back from Hell if we have chosen to become His disciple.

She just "gets it" more than most of us do.  Because we have deluded ourselves.  We have created a man-made hierarchy of sin that allows us to say one person's hellhole was worse than another.  That one of us more desperately needed God than the other.

But the fact is, we were all depraved.  We were enemies of God.  Apart from His hand of redemption, there is no good thing in us.

I'm reading an interesting book: Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream.  I'm only a few chapters in (I've heard that it becomes more controversial later, so I can't endorse the whole thing yet), but I wholeheartedly agree with his depiction of our condition before God and his indictment of American Christianity.  He writes, "You are an enemy of God, dead in your sin, and in your present state of rebellion, you are not even able to see that you need life, much less cause yourself to come to life."

We want a self-help Christianity.  We want salvation on our terms.  I've heard so many altar calls that shill Jesus as "the man with the answers who can make your life better."  But that is NOT Biblical.  The Bible says that we can expect persecution as we follow Christ, and that being refined and made into the image of the Son can be painful.  The Word says that anyone who is considering following Him must count the cost (all that you are/have) before making the decision.

But we have cooked up a milquetoast Jesus and a watered down Gospel.  Walk into any Christian book store and you will see smiling "evangelists" on book covers declaring how Jesus has a great plan for you, and that if you just follow 8 easy steps your life and afterlife will be hunky dory.

I'm not denying that He has an amazing plan for each of us.  I am floored when I realize that God created me, amongst the billions on this planet, and prepared a destiny for me. 

But that is not the meat of the Gospel.  That is the icing on the cake.  The truly amazing thing is that while I was dead in my sin, He rescued me.  He came down and bore the just wrath of the Father for my sin before I even took my first breath. 

And that's what the dancing lady at my church realizes.  Her eyes are clearly open to her own sin and the extravagant grace that has been poured out upon her.  I pray my eyes can be just as open.


SarahinOK said...

I was just reading a very similarly themed part of Mere Christianity the other day... about how we go to God, like a kid with a toothache. We want tylenol to numb the pain, but he does the full work-up on us, pulling not only the aching tooth, but cleaning all the others, and perhaps pulling some of them as well... He was talking about 'be perfect as the heavenly father is perfect'- in the sense that our God knows no other objective than perfection... He (as long as we're willing to let Him) will do all in His power to bring us to perfection, even when we take a look at ourselves and think we're acceptable now, and it's fine that he stop... ;) Good stuff.

mamakyker said...

Could not agree with you more, my friend. Very good stuff.

sophiaofthrace said...

I remember being a teen and thinking I didn't have a testimony. I had grown up in a Christian home and hadn't gotten into any real trouble. I thought I didn't have a story to share. I was so wrong!

wordstolivebymommy said...

yeah, I totally know what you mean :) Great post!